Friday 21 October 2016

QPR clash is crucial - Perez

Published 10/05/2015 | 11:41

Newcastle striker Ayoze Perez is targeting victory at QPR in the quest for Barclays Premier League safety
Newcastle striker Ayoze Perez is targeting victory at QPR in the quest for Barclays Premier League safety

Ayoze Perez is targeting victory at QPR to further ease Newcastle's relegation fears after bringing an end to their eight-game losing streak.

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The 21-year-old striker snatched a point with his seventh goal of the season to secure a 1-1 draw with West Brom at St James' Park on Saturday, their first point since February 28.

Perez's strike could not prevent the club from slipping to 17th place in the table, just two points above the drop zone as a result of victories for Sunderland and Leicester.

But their fate remains in their own hands with Hull having slipped into the bottom three and facing testing final fixtures against Tottenham and Manchester United.

However, a win at Loftus Road could prove decisive, and that will be the only focus for the former Tenerife frontman and his team-mates.

Perez told nufcTV: "It has given us a lot of confidence, but we need to focus on the next game, QPR, and just go after those three important points.

"It's a crucial game, a very important game. We need to go there and get the three points. It's very important."

Summer signing Perez has been something of a revelation for Newcastle having been thrown in at the deep end because of a combination of Papiss Cisse's protracted absences through injury, the African Nations Cup and suspension, and Emmanuel Riviere's difficulties settling into English football.

His side was trailing to Victor Anichebe's 32nd-minute header when Ryan Taylor's free-kick was half-cleared and he drilled a left-foot snapshot past Boaz Myhill and into the bottom corner.

Asked if it was his most important goal to date for the club, he said: "Yes, undoubtedly.

"We had a really bad start to the game and therefore the goal made up for it. It's one more goal under my belt, so it was very important."

Both sides had chances to win the game during a tense second half, with Baggies substitute Saido Berahino being denied by both keeper Tim Krul and the woodwork and Magpies counterpart Sammy Ameobi sending an acrobatic overhead kick just too high at the death.

However, they had to make do with a point apiece, a satisfactory reward for the home side in the circumstances, although two fewer than they had hoped for.

Nevertheless, under-fire head coach John Carver breathed a sigh of relief after fearing the worst as the players lined up in the tunnel before kick-off following his team's capitulation at Leicester seven days earlier.

He said: "It was probably the worst game we could have had following last week because I looked at the two sides in the tunnel and it was like Land of the Giants.

"They were all 6'4" centre-halves at the back, we had 5'7" jockeys, and that's something we have got to look at because set-plays are important."

The draw handed West Brom the point they needed to mathematically seal their presence in next season's Barclays Premier League and leave manager Tony Pulis delighted with his players, who have taken 24 points from the 17 league games they have played since his appointment.

Pulis said: "Yes - and only just got safe now, which shows how well the players have done.

"It's been absolutely fantastic. If you spin it round, we could have been on 48, 50 points if we had done the same in the first half of the season.

"They have done fantastically, they have done really, really well and I'm really pleased for them."

Press Association

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